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Blame game tactics

By Oluwagbenga Oyebanji
07 October 2020   |   1:03 am
The beauty of life is decision making which is part of our DNA. Game theory was invented by Jon Von Newman and Oskar Morgenstein in 1944. Understanding the concept enhances decision making skills, 12 leading scientist had been awarded Nobel Prize in economic sciences

The beauty of life is decision making which is part of our DNA. Game theory was invented by Jon Von Newman and Oskar Morgenstein in 1944. Understanding the concept enhances decision making skills, 12 leading scientist had been awarded Nobel Prize in economic sciences for their immense contribution to the field of game theory. Game theory is a social science/science concept, it has two components. Finite game and Infinite game. Finite games are games that have starting and ending, it recognizes rules and stipulations. Sports, politics, businesses, and academic examinations. All this requires a winner and a looser. Infinite game has no starting and, it is driven by purpose, it is not done by winning or losing. It is based on purpose; most participants in this game are auto telic. Blame game tactics is used in finite game orientations such as politics, sports and businesses. It is a strategy politicians use to perpetuate their intention in other to veil their political excuses and policy stupidity. Blame game tactics is synonymous to business and political leaders. COVID-19 pandemic brought this tactics to the fore; it is ploy used between Beijing and Washington; Donald Trump and Xi Jinping. Leadership challenges in the 21st century have been leashed to this horrendous tactics.

Leadership in this era has a deficit which is blame game and not taking responsibilities for any actions. Most leaders are blaming their failures on COVID-19 pandemic. Is not the responsibility of a leader to take responsibility for victory? It is so amazing when majority of leaders in this dispensation blames failure on an event that could be avoided. The responsibility of a leader is to build preventive measure against catastrophic event. The high uncertainty in this dispensation calls for this measures. Thinking outside the box aids one’s perspective about situations and decision making. The resilience needed to succeed in this clime should be built based on understanding what the problems are, because change is inevitable. The problem is business and political leader of organisations don’t see change as opportunity to exploit but to react.

A candid example is the police brutality and racial profiling in the USA. The change here is, the people are tired of segregation, tribalism and nepotism. They desire real governance that is based on respect for the rule of law, constitutionalism and civility. The protest is a signal that they want dialogue instead of blaming the problem on the opposition party. A smart leader must be able to perceive that engagement is the solution and not a response that is based on reaction. Zoom Video Communication Inc founded by Eric Yuan, a former Cisco engineer and software developer, founded the company 2011. The proactive measure of the founder is a vital example of how to prepare for change and see problems as opportunities and not an avenue for excuses. The success story of Zoom will always be indelible in the history of corporate culture. Zoom’s revenue had an unimaginable growth between May-July; it grew by 355% and made an astonishing $665.3 million in revenue beating Wall Street’s expectation for the year. The only driving factor for this growth is COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine laws enacted by governments over the world.

A proactive policy that is driven by institutional objectives that can adapt to reality of problem solving is the path to thread in the 21st century. The blame game tactics is premised on excuses and shifting responsibilities of leadership to events or persons. The real test of leadership came to fore with COVID-19 pandemic. UNCTAD, the United Nation’s trade and development agency, gave an astounding figure of the world’s economy losing more than $1 trillion during the pandemic which was unprepared for by business and political leaders. It is the same song all over the world, reactive leaders blaming the problem on the pandemic and oppositions. The unprecedented economic recession came with high degree of uncertainty bringing chaotic confrontations to business and political leaders. Leaders must quickly implement policies that tackle the hardship brought by the short-term challenges and the threat which the pandemic posed.

According to Harvard Business Review’s article on September 11, 2020 on leadership: “Five Principles to Guide Adaptive Leadership,” the article spoke mainly about how to proactively respond to crisis. The authors recommend four As which is, Anticipation, Articulation, Adaptation and Accountability. The complexity of the crisis caused by the pandemic is enormous. It is linked to health, economy, social and politics which make the uncertainty unpredictable. The article identified five principles that could make us an adaptive leader during and after COVID-19 pandemic. 1) Ensuring evidence-based learning and adaptation. 2) Stress-test underlying theories, assumptions and beliefs. 3) Streamline deliberative decision making. 4) Strengthen transparency, inclusion and accountability and 5) Mobilise collective actions.

South-Korea, Taiwan and Germany’s response is worth emulating by political leaders. Angela Merkel showed resilience and great science communications to build the most proactive response team among western countries. The leadership skills of this virtuous woman should not be sabotaged with political shenanigans; she contributed vigorously to political and economic stability of EU. Her leadership resolve was tested during COVID-19 pandemic and she was able to salvage German’s economy through the crisis. The data driven and fact based strategy of Merkel brought a political syntax called Merkel effect. The brand of leadership exhibited during the pandemic is a testament that politics is not about elections but the people.

Merkel a scientist by training never failed to consult with better versed scientists in areas she lacked expertise. She was very objective during the peak of the pandemic; she brought a style of leadership which the Germans called “Sachlichkeit” meaning objectivity. The responsive system she helped coordinate brought improvement to all systems across platforms; healthcare, transportation, bureaucracy, economy which resulted in unprecedented level of planning, information sharing and policy coordination. She helped championed a policy synergy that created psychological convenience and mutual trust that is beneficial for efficient crisis response. The expectations for leaders in areas of decision making are a vital ingredient for social cohesion and peaceful co-existence. Government and non-government organization needs leadership that is proactive, responsive and tolerant.

Nigeria’s democratic experience is embellished in blame game tactics. A vivid example is the incumbent government of APC, still blaming the economic hardship of Nigeria on PDP. The just concluded Edo State’s election the same party accused the winner of rigging. It is a Nigeria’s political shenanigans to blame defeat on events or persons. Rewriting the history of our political journey is a waste of time if we don’t have leaders that understand planning, purpose, and pursuits as the fundamentals of success. Nigeria is at crossroad to determine how we want the future to be, blaming the past and oppositions is a testament that our leaders don’t understand the variables of leadership. The challenges we are experiencing are solvable, but the truth of matter is to solve a problem you must know its source. The Nigerian state is a multi-lingual state and the best system of democratic constitution is federalism. In reality what we have is unitary; it is not farfetched to know that the clamour and agitation is underpinned on the constitution. We need a constitution that represents all the ethnic nationals in this country. The minorities have rights, marginalising them is a rehearsal for anarchy. According to Mark Twain, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.”
Oyebanji wrote from Lagos.

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